County shouldn't have sold Conor Washsington, says hall-of-famer Len Ashurst

BAD DEAL: County should have held on to Conor Washington, says Len Ashurst

BAD DEAL: County should have held on to Conor Washington, says Len Ashurst

First published in Newport County
Last updated
South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

FORMER Newport County manager Len Ashurst says the decision to sell Conor Washington in January has cost the Exiles in the League Two run-in.

Ashurst is to be inducted into the League Managers Association hall of fame next month having taken charge of more than 1,000 matches in the professional game during a long and distinguished career.

He was County boss from June 1978 to February 1982 and enjoyed the most successful season of his career in 1979-80 when the Ironsides lifted the Welsh Cup and celebrated promotion to the old Division Three.

The Liverpudlian then led County to the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in March 1981 only to fall agonisingly short against East German side Carl Zeiss Jena.

Ashurst still keeps an eye on his old club and says County have had a good season, although he believes it could have been even better if Washington hadn’t been sold to Peterborough United.

“My family are still living in Newport and they go the games so they keep me informed,” he said.

“Overall I think it’s a good season for the club in their first year back in the Football League.

“But I think it was a poor move to sell Washington. It undermined the manager and weakened the team.”

Ashurst also took charge of South Wales rivals Cardiff City on two separate occasions and had one season as Sunderland boss before spells with clubs in Kuwait, Qatar and Malaysia.

He will be an interested spectator at the Stadium of Light on Sunday as Sunderland and Cardiff clash in a crunch relegation battle.

He will be there in his capacity as a Premier League match delegate assessing the referees at the top level and he’s warned the Black Cats that he could be a lucky omen for the Bluebirds.

“It’s a huge game and whoever loses will probably go down,” he said. “The bad news for Sunderland is that I’ve seen them seven times this season and they haven’t won any so they might ban me from the ground!”

Now 74, Ashurst and his wife Valerie live in retirement at Whitburn in the North East of England.

He will be inducted into the hall of fame on May 12 alongside Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and he is delighted to be recognised.

“A thousand games is a lot and you do wonder where the time has gone,” said Ashurst.

“I’ve managed something like 750 in this country and 1,086 in total and it is a great achievement. I’m very proud.”

Comments (11)

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11:24am Thu 24 Apr 14

ohc says...

Couldn't agree more

Wish Len was 30 years younger
Couldn't agree more Wish Len was 30 years younger ohc
  • Score: 1

11:30am Thu 24 Apr 14

COUNTYVOICE says...

always thought it , and unfortunately was vindicated, sometimes you shouldnt let money talk when trying to build a successful club for the future.

no slander on shaun jeffers but he didnt do anything when he came as a replacement for conor. an established experienced goal machine is a must for the summer
always thought it , and unfortunately was vindicated, sometimes you shouldnt let money talk when trying to build a successful club for the future. no slander on shaun jeffers but he didnt do anything when he came as a replacement for conor. an established experienced goal machine is a must for the summer COUNTYVOICE
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Brat1965 says...

Not the only mistake that JE has made this season but be honest, he hasn't done too bad. I think his learning curve this season will serve him in good stead for next. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Thor In the door has been awfully quiet lately! What a Bozo!
Not the only mistake that JE has made this season but be honest, he hasn't done too bad. I think his learning curve this season will serve him in good stead for next. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Thor In the door has been awfully quiet lately! What a Bozo! Brat1965
  • Score: 1

12:27pm Thu 24 Apr 14

countyexile says...

County shouldn't have bought Alan Waddle and Jeff Johnson - they were bigger and more costly mistakes. Nobody's perfect!
County shouldn't have bought Alan Waddle and Jeff Johnson - they were bigger and more costly mistakes. Nobody's perfect! countyexile
  • Score: 5

12:48pm Thu 24 Apr 14

county mad says...

We are safe lets lesrn from this season onwards and upwards!!UP THE COUNTY!!!!!!!!!
We are safe lets lesrn from this season onwards and upwards!!UP THE COUNTY!!!!!!!!! county mad
  • Score: 5

12:58pm Thu 24 Apr 14

sooty001 says...

Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season.
Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season. sooty001
  • Score: 9

3:08pm Thu 24 Apr 14

lowandhardandinthecorner says...

The downturn after selling Washington was all too predictable, I know we always sell our best players but we should do so only at the end of the season - he might not have been so keen to move if we'd been in League 1 although he's probably nearer his home now.
The downturn after selling Washington was all too predictable, I know we always sell our best players but we should do so only at the end of the season - he might not have been so keen to move if we'd been in League 1 although he's probably nearer his home now. lowandhardandinthecorner
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Brat1965 says...

sooty001 wrote:
Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season.
This man talks sense!
[quote][p][bold]sooty001[/bold] wrote: Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season.[/p][/quote]This man talks sense! Brat1965
  • Score: 6

5:08pm Thu 24 Apr 14

NakedDancer says...

With the greatest respect to Mr Ashurst I'm afraid the finances of modern football have significantly moved on. No club in league 2 could afford to turn down an offer of £500k+ for a single player. It's that simple.
With the greatest respect to Mr Ashurst I'm afraid the finances of modern football have significantly moved on. No club in league 2 could afford to turn down an offer of £500k+ for a single player. It's that simple. NakedDancer
  • Score: 7

6:00pm Thu 24 Apr 14

larneman says...

Brat1965 wrote:
sooty001 wrote:
Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season.
This man talks sense!
Could'nt agree more. Sooty is famous for getting it right. As for selling Washinton I didn't want him to go but at the same time who would want to keep a good player down.
[quote][p][bold]Brat1965[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sooty001[/bold] wrote: Although they sold Washington and I had wished they had not, I do understand that this club has to be run as a business. It costs over £1 million a year to keep the County afloat so with the sale of Washington for nearly half of that with the add ons it made perfect sense. We cannot expect the Chairman to put his hand in his pocket every time because that is not the way to run a football club. With good management and our loyal support I can see even more good times returning to our club. I was disappointed with our dip in form after Xmas and the state of the pitch but I am still satisfied with finishing mid table in our first season back and look forward to more exciting times to come next season.[/p][/quote]This man talks sense![/p][/quote]Could'nt agree more. Sooty is famous for getting it right. As for selling Washinton I didn't want him to go but at the same time who would want to keep a good player down. larneman
  • Score: 2

6:34pm Thu 24 Apr 14

keithbob says...

was sorry to see him go,but reckon we could have waited as jolley and o'connor werent fit so we had no real cover.at least we are safe now and look forward to next season with those two fully fit and and a decent pitch!
was sorry to see him go,but reckon we could have waited as jolley and o'connor werent fit so we had no real cover.at least we are safe now and look forward to next season with those two fully fit and and a decent pitch! keithbob
  • Score: 1

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